(All I gotta say to introduce this post is I AM SO EXCITED!! You can check out my review of Captured by Love here. I’m such a fan of Jody Hedlund and her books, so having the opportunity to be a part of her blog tour is wonderful! I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! Be sure to hit all the other stops for the rest of the tour too. You can find them here!)
Behind the Scenes of Captured By Love
What Inspired Me to Write the Book
Captured by Love is another book set in my home state of Michigan. It’s actually Book 3 in the Michigan Brides Collection.
The first Michigan book I wrote was set in the 1870’s lumber era in the central part of the state (Unending Devotion). Then my second Michigan book took place in the 1870’s among a farming German immigrant community that lived in the Thumb (A Noble Groom).
As I began to plot out where I could set a third Michigan story, I wanted to find someplace unique and different from what I’d already done in terms of the era and the location. I also was looking for a “real” story, event, or person that might inspire a story.
In the course of my research, I scoured numerous biographies of women who lived in Michigan and influenced the history of the state. One of those women was Agatha de LaVigne who lived on Mackinac Island during the fur-trading era. Not much is known about her early background other than that her father was a French fur-trader and that she was Catholic, illiterate, and had a sister named Theresa.
Later Agatha married an independent fur trader and they raised four children together. Agatha is best remembered for her kindness and care to the poor and disadvantaged. She is known to have fed elderly residents from her kitchen. She died in 1873 and is buried at St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Mackinac Island.
Immediately, Agatha’s story sparked my imagination. Even though I didn’t base my entire story around her, I did make the heroine of Captured by Love a compassionate young woman who helps others. Like Agatha, I made my heroine Catholic, illiterate, with a sister named Therese and a fur-trading father. And of course, it seemed only natural to set the story on Mackinac Island where Agatha had lived.
Today, Mackinac Island, is a very popular tourist destination in Michigan. People from all over the Midwest (and country) flock to the tiny northern island during the summer to enjoy the mild weather, beautiful rock formations, bicycling, horse-drawn carriage rides, historical sites, and of course, the fudge!
I knew there would be many eras of Mackinac’s history that I could develop into a good story. I even considered setting the book during the era when fudge was brought to the island and developed.
As I continued to research the island and Agatha’s story, I kept coming back to the dangerous fur-trading days when the island was overrun by voyageurs, soldiers, and Indians.
I was especially fascinated by the stories I read of the deprivation and difficulties during the War of 1812, when the island was taken over the by the British. It was an especially turbulent time for the island residents because they faced starvation-like conditions, isolation from other Americans, impending battles, and even deportation for not cooperating with the British.
All of the danger and action was exactly the kind of fodder I like for stories. So it was an easy choice for me to pick Mackinac Island during the War of 1812 as the focal point of Captured by Love. Very few stories are set in that era, so I hope with all the danger and drama that readers will find it not only entertaining but also love learning about such an exciting time in American history.
What about you? Have you ever read any books set in the early 1800’s? Or is that a new era to you? What is your favorite time period for historical fiction?
And now for the giveaway! Just enter below:
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Be sure to connect with Jody if you haven’t already!
Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling books, The Preacher’s Bride, Unending Devotion, and A Noble Groom. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children.